The Bombay high court on Wednesday rapped the state government and the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) who are refusing to shift the Doppler radar in Colaba to another location, thus stalling over 400 building projects in south Mumbai.
A division bench of justices Anoop Mohta and Amjad Sayyed said, "This is a very regressive move by the government. In a city like Mumbai, we have to consider development of dilapidated buildings."
The court suggested that the state government move the Doppler on the sea instead of keeping it on land. "Why can't you use modern technology, such as GPS and satellite mapping? Is there a requirement for a Doppler radar for predicting monsoon and weather?" the judges asked.
The court also came down heavily on the government and IMD for not moving the Colaba Doppler but searching for sites in Thane and Raigad district for putting up another. The bench said, "All the time, impression was given of alternative accommodation for the Colaba Doppler. Where is the question of additional Doppler?"
Advocate Janak Dwarkadas, appearing for the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI), argued, "Because of this Doppler, authorities are not giving no-objection certificate, thus hindering construction of 400 buildings, which are in excess of 100 m, and around 124 high-rises."
"The authorities can at least process the applications moved by the developers, pending the final decision by the government or this court," he added.
The court has now directed the state, IMD and civic body to file an affidavit clearing their stand on the shifting of the Doppler in Colaba. MCHI has been told to give details of affected projects. The next hearing is on July 2.
The directions were given during the hearing of a petition filed by Redstone Realtors seeking directions to the state to shift the Doppler radar out of the proposed site.
For the Doppler to function properly, there can't be any obstruction within a 10-km radius. If the Doppler is allowed to be constructed in Colaba, several under-construction buildings in four municipal wards, where re-development is ongoing, will be stalled.